Emotional Eating

It is not uncommon for a person to crave certain foods when dealing with different emotions. I would go as far to say that a great many people turn to foods to cope with life. Stress, depression, frustration, boredom, and trauma can all be triggers. What matters is noticing the triggers and learning to cope.

If you are feeling like you really struggle to cope without consuming unhealthy foods, you can turn to most addiction 12 step programs for guidance, as the principles are the same. It is so important to understand that you are using foods to cope and to start paying attention as to how you are feeling when you eat and when you crave food.

This is why keeping a food journal is so important. Tracking the times you eat and crave food can really help you pin point a certain time of day where you might get tired and down, resulting in a craving for something less healthy. Let’s face it. Toward the end of the day, sometimes we get tired, and the desire to take time out to prepare a healthy meal gets weak. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just thrown in the towel and gone for fast food. Yes, it is convenient, and it usually feels good to eat, but I always feel horrible soon after.

Stress is another common trigger for many. For me, when I’m stressed, I tend to not eat much. I lose my appetite, but when I do get hungry, it is usually not fruit carbs that I turn to, because it’s quick and easy.

When I’m feeling down, it is pretty much everything on my “should not eat list” that I crave.

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I doubt it. Let me share with you the tips that I have learned over the years. Some of these are tips that I have covered recently, but they are that important, to repeat.

When I’m feeling down, I am usually missing some primary foods in my life. Since I struggle with “perfection” and what I should be doing, when I make a mistake, it is easy for me to get down about it. So, I take some time in the morning to write out my thoughts. Getting them all out is very freeing. I drink a tall glass of water, and I allow myself a break. Processing why I feel I failed really helps me understand and realize that it’s ok, and I can try again. Often times, I am missing some scripture study, prayer, or exercise, so I make a point to get each one into my day, along with plenty of water.

If I am stressed, I tend to shut down. I stop eating and doing. So, to cope with this, I first spend as much time as I need, writing or journaling why I am stressed. Doing this helps to clear my mind, so I can make a comprehensive action list. This journaling can be done in the morning and at night. Getting exercise certainly helps me to clear my mind and focus on the most important or time sensitive tasks, and don’t forget about drinking lots of water.

Hopefully, you see a pattern. Emotional eating can be linked to a missing primary food. So when you find yourself struggling with cravings due to emotions, take a step back, and assess those primary foods in your life. What is missing? Then go from there, seeing what you need to change.

Are you stuck experiencing the same cravings from similar emotions? These can be released and eliminated from your life. Ask me how.


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